Jennifer Alter Warden will receive the Alter & Stone Outstanding Volunteer Award at the 2020 UnGala for her exceptional service to WITS and the Chicago community. Jennifer joined the WITS Board of Directors in 2014. Over her tenure as a director, Jennifer has brought passion, leadership, and strategic skills that have enabled WITS to become the largest provider of literacy programming to Chicago Public Schools. We are so grateful for what she has done for WITS and are inspired by her contributions across the city.
Jennifer is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Baird & Warner, a major independent real estate services company based in Chicago. Much of her focus during her 25-year career has been to bring marketing and technology innovation to the 165-year-old fifth-generation company, while fostering the cultural values that have driven its sustainability. Jennifer created the Baird & Warner Good Will Network, the company’s charitable initiative, which has donated nearly $3 million to local organizations that provide shelter, primarily to women and children.
Steve Baird, President & CEO of Baird & Warner first met Jennifer over 25 years ago through his wife’s book club. Originally hired to do freelance marketing work, Jennifer quickly became an asset . “She is now the heart and soul of Baird & Warner,” says Steve. “We have partnered together to build the company that it is today. I cannot imagine doing it without her.”
Not only is Jennifer a positive contributor, but she has gone on to mentor countless people in the company. “I usually have to take them away from her as they don’t want to leave her tutelage,” shares Baird. “She and I have often joked that she has no actual job description but that is because she does almost everything. Her contributions to B&W are unmeasurable. It has been a pleasure to work with her for some many years. We make a great team.”
Jennifer is the immediate past Board president of the International Women’s Forum Chicago Chapter and currently serves on the Board of the Reality Alliance, a national consortium of leading independent real estate brokerages. She is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100, the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Executives’ Club of Chicago. In 2010, she co-founded the Joanne Alter Women in Government lecture in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival to honor her late mother and WITS co-founder, Joanne Alter.
Many contribute their time, talents, and treasure. Jennifer’s gifts go far beyond these three. She is always working behind the scenes by making connections and offering counsel when asked. WITS CEO, Tena Latona says, “Jennifer is one of Chicago’s philanthropic leaders, and she does it by doing. Her ability to bring people into the organizations she supports is incredible. She doesn’t say, Will you do this? She asks Will you be my partner in this? It is a small difference, but one that inspires Board peers and other philanthropists alike. Her work to support and empower women has put her own mark on the Alter Family philanthropic legacy in Chicago.”